Understanding the Different Types of Breast Augmentation

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Your plastic surgeon will help you choose the type and size of implant that works best for your body. This decision is based on various factors, including patient preferences, breast anatomy, and surgical techniques.

Implants can be placed directly behind the breast tissue, called sub-glandular, or under the pectoralis chest muscle (submuscular). Each approach has pros and cons, which your plastic surgeon will explain.

Saline Implants

Women who choose saline implants have the advantage of an implant that is less expensive than silicone and offers a more natural feel. They may also benefit from a lower risk of capsular contracture as the body can safely reabsorb the saline bag should it rupture. Saline implants are placed behind the breast tissue (subglandular) or underneath the pectoral muscle (submuscular), though a sub-glandular placement is more common.

Once under anesthesia, your surgeon will make the incisions needed to create a pocket behind or under the breast tissue or pectoral muscle. He will insert the implant into this pocket, checking for symmetry. Then, he will close the incisions using stitches or skin adhesives. He will then apply a dressing to protect the area and help reduce swelling. Saline implants can be round or teardrop-shaped. Both offer a more feminine, perky appearance.

Fat Grafts

Fat grafts (also known as fat injections) are another way to enhance breast size and shape more naturally and subtly. The procedure involves the plastic surgeon selecting a fatty area on your body to extract and use as a source of augmentation material. The Bellevue plastic surgeon injects the grafted fat into the depressed breast area or along the breast contour.

The injected fat will settle in the breast or other areas to create long-lasting results. Fat transfer is also an excellent option to soften lines or wrinkles, restore volume in the face or hands, and improve aging lips or buttocks.

Unlike dermal fillers, fat transfers are performed under a local anesthetic. A needle or cannula is inserted into the incision site on the body to extract and then purify the fat cells for grafting. Fat grafts can also be combined with other surgical procedures like a facelift or breast reconstruction to achieve the desired results.

Silicone Implants

While both saline and silicone breast implants are FDA-approved, the two differ in how they’re handled. Saline implants are empty shells inserted into the body before being filled, while silicone breast implants come pre-filled by the manufacturer.

This can make saline implants less prone to complications like rippling but also requires surgeons to create larger incisions than silicone implants. However, saline implants are much easier to control and may not need as many surgeries over the patient’s lifetime.

Silicone gel breast implants offer the look and feel of natural breasts, making them a popular choice for women wanting to enhance their bust lines. They can also be used to reconstruct the chest after a mastectomy or as part of male-to-female gender confirmation surgery.

Despite being considered safe by the FDA, silicone implants can rupture. This is known as silent rupture and can only be detected through MRI screenings. If not caught, leaking silicone can cause breast pain and change the shape of the breasts.

Gummy Bear Implants

Gummy Bear Implants are filled with a highly cohesive, stable silicone gel, closely resembling the texture of natural breast tissue. Their name stems from the fact that they are more shaped like teardrops than traditional round implants, providing a more defined, structured look to the breasts.

The textured surface of these implants helps them to stay in place within the breast, eliminating the risk of rotation that can happen with traditional implants. This results in a more balanced, consistent breast shape lasting over time.

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Another benefit of gummy bear implants is that they retain fullness in the top portion of the breast, unlike traditional silicone implants that tend to lose volume over time.

It is important to note that breast augmentation surgery is not permanent, and your implants will likely need to be replaced or removed in the future. Also, pregnancy and nursing may affect the appearance of your augmentation.


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